13 months old gets overly attached

OX Jess

Registered User
Hi, my 13-month-old boy is extremely attached to me and I can see the situation gets really 'serious' and I wonder if some of you can offer some experience / advice.

I am a working mum so during the day my Mom&Dad help look after my boy. The situation is: when I leave the house he, of course, cries (which I think "normal" for most babies at this age so I don't think it is an issue). However, whenever I am around, he constantly wants me to carry him or at least be right next to him. He allows nobody (not even his daddy!) to carry him or he just cries his eyes out. Whenever I walk away, i.e. go into the kitchen/toilet for a minute (he can still see my face), he cries. Sometimes I can't even do anything at all but carry him or I have to leave him cry and cry. I am told this is just a phase and he has been like this for 2 months already and gets 'serious'. I don't mind leaving him cry but then I wonder, do I have to? Is leaving him cry the only way to 'train' him?! I wonder if he will feel 'abandoned' if I just let him cry?!?

Anyone has experienced something similar? Thanks.
that's a difficult one. it IS a phase and it WILL get better. i think you just have to keep doing what you are currently doing.

the other thing is this:

how do you/your husband/anyone else react when he starts to cry? are you "ooo-ing" and "ahhhh-ing" over him, trying to distract him or in other words paying him A LOT of attention? or do you just go about what needs to be done without a lot of fuss?

if you are doing the former, i think it will take A LOT longer for him to grow out of it... he's getting a lot of attention for this behaviour, and THAT is what he wants.

if you are doing the latter, then once he comes to the realisation that you DO come back, that you DO pay attention to him he'll be ok.

ps> he is crying out of anger... nothing else. he is frustrated that he can't explain it to you. right now, his only form of communicating his displeasure to you.
Agree its a phase my son went through the same thing and even now at 19 months sometimes he only wants me to carry him when I get home from work. My husband and I would ignore the crying and when he calmed down we would distract him with an activity - reading books to him really helped and also we would blow bubbles for him to catch (you know that bubble mixture with a wand). Alot of the time he would be clinging to my legs while I'm trying to prepare dinner and I think alot of it was that he wanted to know what I was doing, so my husband would pick him up and he was happy to be held as long as he could see all the action!

It will get better!
I find that distraction with toys or things that he likes (like daddy's blackberry) often helps. I'm lucky in that though my 15.5 month old son and I are very close, he is also close with our nanny and daddy also so he has no problems when I leave for work in the morning or when my husband and I step out on the weekends for errands without him. Occasionally he will want to stick to me and at those times, I just distract him with a toy that he loves on the floor and when he forgets that I will be leaving, he happily plays with that toy on the floor while my nanny takes over watching him.
Carang, when he cries for wanting me to carry him / go near him, I will do it immediately without making a fuss of it. Having picked him up, I will explain to him, "Mummy is here with you, don't worry, Mummy is not going away... blah blah.." Very often my husband tries to carry him (as he's been out to work and he of course wants to carry his boy when he's home) but my son will just struggles and cries, wanting me. My husband sometimes will try to distract him (unfortunately only 1 out of 10 works) or simply grab him away from me until he wails beyond control then hand him back to me! Once he is in my hand, he is calm! Others like my Mum&Dad will just hand him over to me immediately. When I get a glass of water I need to carry him to the kitchen, when I go to the loo I need to place him outside the toilet... Wherever I go, he needs to be right down at my feet. It's ok for me but my husband gets really really frustrated. Once or twice my husband got into really 'down' mood and sulked for a whole evening because his son refused to be carried by him.... So I am also concerned about my husband's feelings~~~
perhaps the problem is that when he cries you go to him immediately and pick him up?

THAT is telling him that if he cries, mummy will come and pick him up.... you are trying to do what is best for him, but really what is happening is that you are 'conditioning' him to associate crying with attention from mummy. it seems that everyone around you is also reinforcing this belief by immediately passing him to you.

i disagree completely with carrying him everywhere... he's big enough to walk now (unless of course he's not walking yet)...

hubby has to know that just because your child wants mummy does NOT mean that child doesn't love daddy.
I would suggest gradually not carrying him so much - otherwise you'll do your back in eventually! What I would probably attempt is if he wants you to hold him, instead, get down on the floor and play with him - but specifically don't "hold" him - you might sit close to him side by side for example... that way he is learning that he can spend time with you and be close to you without being held all the time. I know that probably if he's been held a LOT he won't be happy with not being picked up - but if you do it gradually like that, it's probably easier than just cold turkey...

It is a phase and it will pass - but I do think that there are things that you can do that will make it easier or harder in the long run. And if you start by teaching him that you are there for him even if you're not carrying him everywhere, that's the first step I think...
my 15 months old son does that too! I work part time and he's okay when i leave (i just go! instead of lounge around, i give him a quick kiss and run out). but when i come back he's very attached to me as well, and in the mornings before work he doesn't like it when i'm out of sight, usually i keep saying 'mommy's right HERE!' and most of the time distraction doesn't work. i don't usually carry him though unless he's very distraught but i do give him a quick hug and then distract him by picking up a toy, giving a toy a hug, etc. he thinks it's very funny.
my 22mth old just started it, think it is because of baby #2..she never wanted me to carry her - what i do is just distract her and ignore her when she whines/ cries when she wants me to carry her. i always make an effort to carry her when she is "good" and tell her that "good girl - you're not crying so mommy will carry you" sort of thing so I'm not totally unreachable in that sense. it is a phase and will pass like the others have said - just hard sometimes to ignore the cries...but, if you give in, the crying will mean that crying works and it will happen more consistently when your baby wants something (object or person)...so you have to stick with it no matter how hard - easier said than done, I'm struggling to be consistent myself!
He is not yet walking properly - he can manage about 5-6 steps and walks ok by hanging onto the wall. The reason I carry him is mostly because he demands it or simply cries. I guess, some of you have rightly put, I have reinforced him to continue this behaviour as whenever he cries for mummy, mummy is right there for him... OK, I will try to take nicolejoy's idea... and see how it goes... As for husband, carang, I guess my husband knows that my son wants mummy doesn't mean he doesn't love his daddy... but he cannot hide his frustration over being rejected by his son. I told him more than a dozen times, "Don't worry, once the son is able to run and play, he will get very attached to you...All boys love his daddy!!!" Last night my son completely rejected him and he sat on the sofa and didn't want to say a word for a whole night!!! Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining about his behaviour... I actually can 'feel' for him but I simply cannot change the situation overnight... (Sigh!)
the thing is, jess, that your child is going to continue to want things as he grows up. eventually you are going to have to say no and he is going to cry and fuss and scream etc. you need to get used to it and learn how to deal with it now instead of in a year or two when it gets really bad.

i believe that kids need to learn this at an early age. it makes life so much easier in the future. i can take my two kids to the toy shop and they can handle it when i say "no" to their requests for things. i think it is because we dealt with that very early in their lives. they know that it doesn't mean i don't love them or that they will never get what they want, but in our case, they need to "earn" it. (not love and affection, i'm talking material things.)

i shower my kids with hugs and kisses and they know they are loved. but i'm not afraid of a few tears along the way. it's to be expected. if i set a rule, i NEVER give in! even if it meant life would be so much easier. my kids say "please" and "thank you" to EVERYONE. otherwise, i take away whatever was given. etc.

it's part and parcel of teaching manners.... as is the carrying thing. as your son is not completely walking yet, it will make a difference...but remember, if you are carrying him everywhere, there's no need for him to walk... you need to teach him about time/place/appropriateness (ie. it's NOT appropriate to carry him into the bathroom, maybe? i can't say for sure as we were a "door open" house when kids were little).

anyway... good luck! i'm sure you'll all get through it. as for hubby, it's just jealousy... and a little childish for him to take it out on you...my 2cents.